December 6, 2022

ACN Center

Area Control Network

Local tax return preparer indicted for fraud

14 min read

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The owner and operator of The Tax Company in Corpus Christi is set to appear in federal court on charges of tax fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Berlinda Luikens is charged in a 41-count indictment returned March 9. She is set to appear for her arraignment today at 10 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Julie K. Hampton.

The charges allege she submitted false Form 1040 tax returns by including fraudulent Schedule C and Schedule F items, including fictitious businesses. This resulted in higher tax refund amounts her clients were not entitled to receive, according to the charges.

Luikens allegedly caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue loss.

“IRS – Criminal Investigation (CI) takes the job of investigating criminal violations of our nation’s tax laws seriously because tax fraud steals from programs that help every American,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Rodrick Benton. “We will continue working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners to help identify suspected tax criminals and protect taxpayers’ money.”

If convicted, Luikens faces up to three years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine for each count of conviction.

IRS-CI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marck is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

More from: March 18, 2022

  • Missile Defense: Observations on Ground-based Midcourse Defense Acquisition Challenges and Potential Contract Strategy Changes
    In U.S GAO News
    The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is developing a system to defend the U.S. from long-range missile attacks. As MDA continues to develop this system, called Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), it has opportunities to incorporate into its approach lessons learned from over 2 decades of system development. MDA has made progress in developing and fielding elements of the GMD system. For example, MDA is constructing a new missile field to expand the fleet of interceptors. However, MDA has also experienced significant setbacks. Most recently, the Department of Defense canceled development of a key GMD element, the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, in 2019 because of fundamental problems with the system’s design. Ongoing Construction of a New Ground-based Midcourse Defense Interceptor Field (July 16, 2019) Over the years, GAO has identified practices that MDA could apply to the GMD program to improve acquisition outcomes, such as: Using knowledge-based acquisition practices Involving stakeholders early and often Providing effective oversight Promoting competition Performing robust testing GAO has also made numerous recommendations to improve MDA’s acquisition outcomes and reduce risk. As of July 2020, the department has concurred with most of the recommendations GAO made since MDA’s inception in 2002. Although the department has implemented many of the recommendations, it has further opportunities to implement the remaining open recommendations and apply lessons learned on a major, new effort to develop a next-generation GMD interceptor. Since the late 1990s, DOD has executed the GMD program through a prime contractor responsible for developing and integrating the entire weapon system. MDA is considering taking over these responsibilities for GMD for the next phase of the program. GAO found that this approach offers potential benefits to the agency, such as more direct control over and greater insight into GMD’s cost, schedule, and performance. However, the approach has some challenges that, if not addressed, could outweigh the benefits. For example, MDA may encounter challenges obtaining the technical data and staffing levels necessary to manage this complex weapon system, which could ultimately affect its availability or readiness. As of October 2020, MDA has not yet determined an acquisition strategy for the next phase of the GMD program. The GMD system aims to defend the U.S. against ballistic missile attacks from rogue states like North Korea or Iran. DOD has been developing this system since the 1990s and has spent $53 billion on the system so far. GMD is a complex system that includes interceptors and a ground system, and MDA has largely relied on a contractor, Boeing, to manage development and system integration. MDA is considering moving away from this approach as the program embarks on developing a key element of the GMD, a new interceptor. The House Armed Services Committee included a provision in a report for GAO to assess the GMD contract structure and identify potential opportunities to improve government management and contractor accountability. This report addresses (1) the lessons learned from challenges MDA encountered acquiring the GMD system and (2) the potential benefits and risks of MDA taking over system integration responsibilities for GMD. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed GMD program documentation, prior GAO reports on missile defense, GAO interviews with other DOD components, and expert panel reviews of GMD. GAO also spoke with officials from MDA and other DOD components. GAO has 17 open recommendations aimed at improving missile defense acquisition outcomes and reducing risk. Recently, DOD has taken steps to address some of these open recommendations, but further action is needed to fully implement the remaining recommendations. For more information, contact W. William Russell at (202) 512-4841 or russellw@gao.gov.

    [Read More…]

  • Justice Department Settles Discrimination Claim Against Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc.
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today announced that it reached a settlement with Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc. (Aerojet Rocketdyne), a rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer. The settlement resolves a charge brought by a lawful permanent resident whom Aerojet Rocketdyne did not consider for a mechanic position because of his immigration status. The department’s investigation concluded that Aerojet Rocketdyne violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it only considered U.S. citizens for 12 mechanic positions in Jupiter, Florida, without legal justification.

    [Read More…]

  • Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Call with Secretary Campbell 
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Homelessness: HUD Should Help Communities Better Leverage Data to Estimate Homelessness
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is a nationwide count of people experiencing homelessness on a single night, conducted by Continuums of Care (CoC)—local planning bodies that coordinate homelessness services. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allows CoCs to use different methods to estimate homeless populations—including a census (complete count), sampling, or a combination of these. For counting unsheltered individuals (those on the street or in other uninhabitable places), HUD requires CoCs to use in-person methods—for example, by having enumerators visually locate and attempt to ask questions of these individuals on the night of the count. HUD permits CoCs to also use administrative data—that is, records collected by public and nonprofit agencies on people who use their services. However, HUD does not provide CoCs with examples of how to extract and use administrative data for the unsheltered count. By doing so, HUD could help improve the quality and consistency of CoCs’ estimates and position CoCs to provide better estimates, particularly if in-person counts are again disrupted, as they were in 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. PIT count is similar to Canada’s and England’s approaches in that they are nationally administered and localities can choose among various approved methods to conduct in-person local counts. The Netherlands and Australia use more centralized methods and statistical analyses to develop estimates. For example, Australia produces an estimate using data from the general census of the population. Little comprehensive data exist on PIT count costs, but a GAO survey of 41 CoCs provided information on funding sources and key resources required from their most recent unsheltered PIT count prior to 2021: Of the 41 CoCs, 31 used HUD funds, 19 used state or local funds, and 10 used private donations (often in combination with government funds). All 41 CoCs reported using volunteers to complete their PIT counts, with large cities using the most volunteer hours. Respondents reported an average of 4.8 work hours (paid staff and volunteers) for every person counted in their PIT count of unsheltered individuals. The most common PIT count costs were for incentives for volunteers and meals. Examples of Homeless Encampments in Oakland, California, in 2021 Why GAO Did This Study HUD’s PIT count is a key tool for estimating the size of the U.S. homeless population. However, developing an accurate understanding of the extent of homelessness is challenging due to the hidden nature of the population. Further, some members of Congress and others have raised questions about the reliability of HUD’s estimates. GAO was asked to review the PIT count and alternative methods for estimating the size of homeless populations. This report (1) examines communities’ approaches for counting people experiencing homelessness and HUD’s guidance for using these approaches, (2) describes approaches used by selected foreign countries to estimate their homeless populations, and (3) describes what is known about funding sources and resources expended by selected communities in conducing the PIT count. GAO conducted a literature review to identify methods to estimate homelessness and selected four countries for case study based on a literature review and recommendations from researchers. GAO also surveyed a nongeneralizable sample of 60 CoCs and received responses from 41 of them about PIT count costs and funding sources, reviewed agency guidance and documents, and interviewed U.S. and foreign government officials.

    [Read More…]

  • Navistar Defense Agrees to Pay $50 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations Involving Submission of Fraudulent Sales Histories
    In Crime News
    Navistar Defense LLC (Navistar), an Illinois based manufacturer of military vehicles and subsidiary of Navistar International LLC, has agreed to pay $50 million to resolve allegations that it fraudulently induced the U.S. Marine Corps to enter into a contract modification at inflated prices for a suspension system for armored vehicles known as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.

    [Read More…]

  • Canadian Man Charged With Scheme to Commit Cyberattacks
    In Crime News
    A federal indictment unsealed today in Alaska charges a Canadian national with committing cyberattacks.

    [Read More…]

  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Stephanie Busari of CNN International
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • U.S.-Greenland Technical Engagement on Mining Sector Education and Training
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Pompeo’s Call with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg 
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Launch of the Sponsor Circle Program for Afghans
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • New York Man Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Exotic African Cats
    In Crime News
    More from: April 27, 2021 [Read More…]
  • Lithuanian National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Questions for the Record Related to the Benefits and Medical Care for Federal Civilian Employees Deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq
    In U.S GAO News
    GAO appeared before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Armed Services on September 18, 2007, to discuss the benefits and medical care for federal civilian and U.S. government contract employees deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. This report responds to Congress’ request that GAO provide answers to questions for the record from the hearing. The questions are (1) What are the congressional requirements for medical tracking of deployed military servicemembers and civilians? and (2) What work has GAO conducted on this topic?Following GAO’s May 1997 report, Congress enacted legislation3 that required the Secretary of Defense to establish a medical tracking system to assess the medical condition of servicemembers before and after deployments to locations outside of the United States. This legislation was amended by a provision in the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007. The current legislation amends elements of the system and the quality assurance program as well as adds criteria for referral for further evaluations and minimum mental health standards for deployment. Since the 1990s, GAO has highlighted shortcomings with respect to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) ability to assess the medical condition of servicemembers both before and after their deployments. Following GAO’s May 1997 report, Congress enacted legislation that required the Secretary of Defense to establish a medical tracking system for assessing the medical condition of servicemembers before and after deployments. In September 2003, we reported that the Army and Air Force did not comply with DOD’s force health protection and surveillance requirements for many servicemembers deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Central Asia and Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo. Our report also raised concerns over a lack of DOD oversight of departmentwide efforts to comply with health surveillance requirements. In September 2004, we reported similar issues related to DOD’s ability to effectively manage the health status of its reserve forces. In November 2004, we reported that overall compliance with DOD’s force health protection and surveillance policies for servicemembers who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom varied by service, by installation, and by policy requirement. In October 2005, we reported that evidence suggested that reserve component members have deployed into theater with preexisting medical conditions that could not be adequately addressed in theater, and that DOD had limited visibility over the health status of reserve component members after they are called to duty and is unable to determine the extent of care provided to those members deployed with preexisting medical conditions despite the existence of various sources of medical information. In February 2007, the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Health Protection and Readiness published a new instruction on force health protection quality assurance. This policy applies to military servicemembers, as well as applicable DOD and contractor personnel. The new policy requires the military services to implement procedures to monitor key force health protection elements such as pre- and post-deployment health assessments. In our June 2007 report on DOD’s compliance with the legislative requirement to perform pre- and post-deployment medical examinations on servicemembers, DOD lacked a comprehensive oversight framework to help ensure effective implementation of its deployment health quality assurance program, which included specific reporting requirements and results-oriented performance measures to evaluate the services’ adherence to deployment health requirements.

    [Read More…]

  • Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Swiss President and Foreign Minister Cassis
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) Winter Conference
    In Crime News
    Good morning. Thank you for that warm welcome, Peter. It’s nice to be among friends.

    [Read More…]

  • Waste Management: DOD Needs to Fully Assess the Health Risks of Burn Pits
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO reported in September 2016 that the effects from exposing individuals to burn pit emissions were not well understood, and the Department of Defense (DOD) had not fully assessed the health risks associated with the use of burn pits. Burn pits—shallow excavations or surface features with berms used to conduct open-air burning—were often chosen as a method of waste disposal during recent contingency operations in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, which extends from the Middle East to Central Asia and includes Iraq and Afghanistan. According to DOD Instruction 6055.01, DOD Safety and Occupational Health (SOH) Program , DOD should apply risk-management strategies to eliminate occupational injury or illness and loss of mission capability or resources. The instruction also requires all DOD components to establish procedures to ensure that risk-acceptance decisions were documented, archived, and reevaluated on a recurring basis. Furthermore, DOD Instruction 6055.05, Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH), requires that hazards be identified and risk evaluated as early as possible, including the consideration of exposure patterns, duration, and rates. While DOD has guidance that applies to burn pit emissions among other health hazards, DOD had not fully assessed the health risks of use of burn pits, according to DOD officials. According to DOD officials, DOD’s ability to assess these risks was limited by a lack of adequate information on (1) the levels of exposure to burn pit emissions and (2) the health impacts these exposures had on individuals. With respect to information on exposure levels, DOD had not collected data from emissions or monitored exposures from burn pits as required by its own guidance. Given the potential use of burn pits near installations and during future contingency operations, establishing processes to monitor burn pit emissions for unacceptable exposures would better position DOD and combatant commanders to collect data that could help assess exposure to risks. GAO recommended that the Secretary of Defense (1) take steps to ensure CENTCOM and other geographic combatant commands, as appropriate, establish processes to consistently monitor burn pit emissions for unacceptable exposures; and (2) in coordination with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, specifically examine the relationship between direct, individual, burn pit exposure and potential long-term health-related issues. DOD concurred with the first recommendation and partially concurred with the second. In a May 2018 status update regarding these recommendations, DOD outlined a series of steps it had implemented as well as steps that it intends to implement. The department believes these efforts will further enhance its ability to better monitor burn-pit emissions and examine the relationship between direct, individual, burn pit exposure and potential long-term health related issues. GAO believes the steps DOD is taking are appropriate. Why GAO Did This Study Burn pits help base commanders manage waste generated by U.S. forces overseas, but they also produce harmful emissions that military and other health professionals believe may result in chronic health effects for those exposed. This statement provides information on the extent to which DOD has assessed any health risks of burn pit use. This statement is based on a GAO report issued in September 2016 (GAO-16-781). The report was conducted in response to section 313 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. Specifically, GAO assessed the methodology DOD used in conducting a review of the compliance of the military departments and combatant commands with DOD instructions governing the use of burn pits in contingency operations and the adequacy of a DOD report for the defense committees. GAO also obtained updates from DOD on actions taken to assess health risks from burn pits since September 2016.

    [Read More…]

  • Co-Owner of Puerto Rican Online Aquarium Business Pleads Guilty to Two Lacey Act Felonies and Export Smuggling for Illicit Trafficking of Protected Reef Creatures
    In Crime News
    A resident of San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty today to export smuggling and two felony violations of the Lacey Act for collecting, purchasing, falsely labeling, and shipping protected marine invertebrate species as part of an effort to subvert Puerto Rican law designed to protect corals and other reef species, the Department of Justice announced.

    [Read More…]

  • Michigan Man Pleads Guilty to Using Threats to Obstruct Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced that Ronald Wyatt, 22, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to intentionally threatening physical harm to a female victim, T.P., to obstruct T.P.’s free exercise of religion. As part of his plea agreement, Wyatt admitted that he targeted T.P., who is African-American, because of her race. 

    [Read More…]

  • 9th U.S-Philippines Bilateral Strategic Dialogue
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • KuuHuub Inc., Kuu Huub Oy and Recolor Oy to Pay Civil Penalty for Children’s Online Privacy Violations
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice, together with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), today announced that KuuHuub Inc., a Canadian corporation, and two Finnish corporations, Kuu Huub Oy and Recolor Oy, have agreed to a settlement to resolve alleged violations of the FTC Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) associated with the companies’ “Recolor” mobile app and digital coloring book.

    [Read More…]

Source: Network News
Area Control Network

Copyright © 2022 ACN
All Rights Reserved © ACN 2020

ACN Privacy Policies
ACN TOS
Area Control Network (ACN)
Area Control Network
Area Control Network Center